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Stephen Crane Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: SEH
Date: Jul 1993

Biographical History

Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was an American novelist, poet and journalist. Crane's mother, Mary Helen Peck, was the daughter of George Peck, an American Methodist Episcopal clergyman, author, and President of Cazenovia Seminary in Madison County, New York. Crane attended but did not graduate from Lafayette College and Syracuse University before moving to New York City where he worked as a freelance journalist and writer. His first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, was published in 1893, followed in 1895 by the novel for which he is best known, The Red Badge of Courage. The latter, about a young soldier's initiation into the horrors and ironies of war set during the American Civil War, won great acclaim for its vividness and psychological depth.

Crane and Cora Stewart-Taylor, who would become his wife, moved to Sussex, England in 1897. The two worked together as war correspondents during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, novelized in Crane's Active Service (1899) whose central character is a journalist covering the war. Crane died at age 28 of tuberculosis in Badenweiler, Baden, Germany.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Stephen Crane Collection comprises correspondence, writings, and memorabilia of the American author and his wife, Cora Crane, as well as the research materials of a number of literary scholars and private collectors. There are also a few recordings of indeterminate provenance.

Spanning the years 1889 to 1910, Correspondence is divided into incoming and outgoing Stephen Crane letters, incoming and outgoing Cora Crane letters, and third-party correspondence, and further delineated by sender or recipient; citation numbers in parentheses (e.g., "no. 123") refer to letters in The Correspondence of Stephen Crane, Wertheim and Sorrentino, ed. (Columbia University Press, 1988). Stephen Crane's correspondence encompasses family members (Edmund and William Crane); friends (Armistead Borland, Lucius L. Button, Nellie Crouse, Clara and Moreton Frewen, Louis Senger, Post Wheeler); and publishers and literary agents (Copeland and Day, James B. Pinker, Paul Revere Reynolds). Cora Crane's correspondence consists primarily of letters she wrote for Crane to literary agent James B. Pinker and several letters to Crane's friends (Mr. and Mrs. Frewen, Corwin Knapp Linson, Louis Senger) after his death. Third-Party correspondence refers to Stephen Crane or his work.

Writings (Box 5) includes thirteen holograph manuscripts, five typescripts, and two published versions of Crane's prose and verse.

Memorabilia (Box 6) comprises family papers, legal materials, and miscellany, and includes writings by Stephen Crane's sister, Agnes, Crane's death certificate, an affidavit of M. Helen Crane, autograph albums with Crane inscriptions, and artifacts (a baseball used by Crane, calling cards, and stationery sheets with Crane's name among those on the letterhead).

In addition, the Stephen Crane Collection includes the research files of eight Crane authors and/or collectors:

The Lillian Gilkes Research Files (Boxes 7-10) comprises correspondence-subject files, writings, and memorabilia. Author of Cora Crane: a Biography of Mrs. Stephen Crane, Gilkes amassed files which contain correspondence with the Crane and Howorth families and their contemporaries, publishers, editors, and other literary scholars and researchers, as well as copies of Cora and Stephen Crane's correspondence, writings, legal papers and drawings. Writings consist of articles, book reviews, books, and miscellaneous notes by Gilkes on Cora and/or Stephen Crane. Memorabilia include photographs, printed material, writings by others, and miscellany (a brass button, and Cora Crane's calling cards).
The Cyrus Day Research Files (Box 11) contains correspondence, writings, and memorabilia concerning the 1897 shipwreck of the Commodore, on which Crane was bound for Cuba.
The Mansfield J. French Research Files (Box 11) and the Frank W. Noxon Research Files (Box 11) consist of correspondence and reminiscences about Crane by his former Syracuse University classmates.
The Vincent Starrett Research Files (Box 11) are composed of the author's correspondence with Crane's contemporaries and publishers, as well as others associated with Crane.
Corwin Knapp Linson Writings (Box 12) comprises several manuscript versions of the American artist's book about his friend, My Stephen Crane. (Linson's photographs of Crane are among the Stephen Crane Collection Photographs which is arranged and stored separately.)
Constituting the bulk of the collection, the Melvin H. Schoberlin Research Files (Boxes 13-23) encompasses correspondence-subject files, writings, and memorabilia. Correspondence-subject files comprise Schoberlin's incoming and outgoing letters of Crane's family and contemporaries and their descendants, as well as Crane scholars and researchers. Categorized as books and notes, writings include an unpublished book manuscript for a Crane biography, production records for Sullivan County Sketches and a book unrelated to Crane, and extensive research material on Crane. Clippings (relating to Crane or Schoberlin), photographs, illustrations, photostats with Crane associations, writings by others (on Crane and his work), and miscellany (Spanish moss from Cora's grave, stationery sheets with Crane's name among those on the letterhead) constitute memorabilia.
The Ames Williams Research Files (Box 24) consists of correspondence-subject files, writings, and memorabilia relating to Crane. Correspondence-subject files include Williams's incoming and outgoing letters of Stephen and Cora Crane's contemporaries and friends as well as some photocopies of their correspondence with literary agents. A paper on Crane by Williams and a copy of a photograph of one of Crane's romantic interests, Lily Brandon, complete the collection.
Recordings contains five recordings of various scholars discussing Crane, including Lillian Gilkes and Professor Walter Sutton. How these came into the collection is unknown, but they were likely part of Lillian Gilkes' research files.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence of Stephen and Cora Crane are subdivided into incoming and outgoing, and then arranged chronologically; third-party correspondence is arranged alphabetically. Writings are arranged alphabetically by type and then by title. Memorabilia is arranged alphabetically by type.

Researcher's files are subdivided into correspondence, writings, and memorabilia, in that order; correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, while writings and memorabilia are arranged alphabetically by type of material.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

See also the Stephen Crane Collection Photographs and the Lillian B. Gilkes Papers (unrelated to Crane). In addition, Special Collections Research Center has many published Crane works and reference materials in its Rare Books holdings; please refer to the Classic Catalog for a complete listing. Special Collections Research Center is also the repository of the papers of George Peck, Crane's maternal grandfather.

Subject Headings


Borland, Armistead.
Button, Lucius L.
Crane family.
Crane, Agnes Elizabeth, 1856-1884.
Crane, Cora, 1865 or 6-1910.
Crane, Edmund, 1886-1957
Crane, Stephen, 1871-1900.
Crane, William.
Crouse, Nellie.
Day, Cyrus Lawrence, 1900-1968.
DuMond, Frank Vincent, 1865-1951.
French, Mansfield Joseph, 1872-
Frewen, Clara, 1851-1935.
Frewen, Moreton, 1853-1924.
Gilkes, Lillian Barnard, 1902-
Hubbard, Elbert, 1856-1915.
Johnson, Robert Underwood, 1853-1937.
Linson, Corwin Knapp, b. 1864.
Mayfield, John S., 1904-1983.
Noxon, Frank W.
Pinker, James B.
Reynolds, Paul R. (Paul Revere), 1904-1988.
Schoberlin, Melvin H., 1912-
Senger, Louis.
Stallman, R. W. (Robert Wooster), 1911-1982.
Starrett, Vincent, 1886-1974.
Wheeler, Post, 1869-1956.
Williams, Ames W. (Ames William)

Corporate Bodies

Copeland and Day.


American literature -- 19th century.
American poetry -- 19th century.
Authors and publishers.
Authors, American.
Greco-Turkish War, 1897 -- Journalists.
Journalists -- United States.
Novelists, American.
Poets, American.
Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Campaigns -- Cuba -- Journalists.
War correspondents.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Drafts (documents)
Notes (documents)
Sound recordings.
Video recordings.


War correspondents.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Stephen Crane Collection
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gifts and purchases, 1950-1965.

Table of Contents




Lillian Gilkes research files

Cyrus Day research files

Mansfield J. French research files

Frank W. Noxon research files

Vincent Starrett research files

Corwin Knapp Linson writings

Melvin H. Schoberlin research files

Ames Williams research files